Lemon Balm and Pregnancy
Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.
Feeling anxious during pregnancy can be a common experience, and finding ways to help calm your nerves without relying on medication can feel overwhelming. While there are many potentially effective remedies, one lesser-known remedy is the lemon balm!
For hundreds of years, this herb has been used to help promote relaxation and ease symptoms of anxiety. But if you're pregnant, is it safe for you to use? In this blog post, we'll discuss the potential benefits and risks of taking lemon balm while pregnant so that you can decide what might work best for you and your baby during this special time.
WHAT IS LEMON BALM?
Lemon balm (also known as Melissa officinalis) is a member of the mint family and has been used traditionally in herbal medicine for centuries. It is a perennial herb native to the Mediterranean region and can grow wild in many parts of Europe and North America.
The leaves of the lemon balm plant have a strong lemony scent and are used to make teas, tinctures, extracts, and essential oils. In addition, lemon balm contains several active compounds that are thought to have calming, anti-anxiety and even antidepressant effects.
HISTORY OF LEMON BALM
Lemon balm has long been used as a herbal remedy for a variety of conditions, including anxiety and insomnia. Traditional medicine was often combined with other herbs to make calming tonics and teas. In the medieval era, it was believed that lemon balm could ward off evil spirits and protect people from the plague. More recently, it has been used to treat colds, flu, indigestion, and even headaches.
In addition to its historical use, lemon balm has been extensively studied for its potential health benefits in recent years. Several animal and human studies have confirmed that lemon balm has both anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects. It is also believed to improve cognitive function and memory, reduce stress levels, and improve sleep quality.
BENEFITS OF LEMON BALM IN PREGNANCY
1. REDUCE ANXIETY
Studies have shown that lemon balm may help reduce feelings of anxiety, possibly due to its calming effects on the nervous system. This can be beneficial for pregnant women who are feeling incredibly anxious due to the many changes they experience during pregnancy. However, pregnant women should discuss any potential remedies with their healthcare provider before taking them.
2. PROMOTE QUALITY SLEEP
Lemon balm has been found to help promote better and more restful sleep. This is beneficial for pregnant women who may have difficulty sleeping due to the physical and mental changes that come with carrying a baby. The herb may also help reduce nightmares, often experienced during pregnancy.
3. RELIEF OF NAUSEA
We all know pregnancy is when the woman's body faces many physical changes, and one of the most common symptoms is nausea. Most women experience nausea during their first trimester. Taking lemon balm can help relieve nausea and prevent it from occurring in the first place. This can be helpful for pregnant women who are dealing with this symptom.
DO YOU KNOW THERE IS CAFFEINE IN LEMON BALM TEA?
It might come as a surprise to some, but yes! Lemon balm tea does contain a small amount of caffeine. The exact amount can vary depending on the variety of lemon balm used and the brewing method, but it is generally considered less than 10 milligrams per cup.
This is much less than the approximately 95 milligrams per cup of regular brewed coffee. Therefore, you may want to limit your intake of lemon balm tea during pregnancy if you're sensitive to caffeine.
IS IT SAFE TO TAKE A TINCTURE (EXTRACT) OR OIL OF LEMON BALM WHILE PREGNANT?
Only safe quantities of lemon balm in food should be consumed while pregnant. This entails drinking a professionally prepared lemon balm tea with an appropriate serving size made from the leaves of lemon balm.
Pre-measured lemon balm tea bags are the best and most foolproof method. However, since there is insufficient data on the safety of lemon balm during pregnancy, the herb's preparations and tinctures are not suggested.
Discuss with an obstetrician or physician before using lemon balm in any form, including as a pill, extract, oil, or tincture. Tea made from the herb should be taken in small amounts as a substitute for larger doses of the herb in cooking if used at all during pregnancy.
DISADVANTAGES OF USING LEMON BALM IN PREGNANCY
While lemon balm is generally considered safe for pregnant women, it's important to note that there have been very few studies on its safety and efficacy, so it's best to consult your healthcare provider before taking any herbal supplement. Additionally, some potential risks are associated with taking lemon balm while pregnant. Some of these risks include:
- It may interact with medications, including antidepressants and antacids.
- Some studies suggest it could reduce the effectiveness of birth control.
- It may cause drowsiness or dizziness, which could be dangerous during pregnancy.
- It may cause an allergic reaction in some people.
When taken in moderation and under the guidance of a healthcare provider, lemon balm may be a beneficial supplement for pregnant women. However, it's important to note that there is not enough evidence to guarantee its safety and efficacy, so it's important to talk with your doctor before taking it.
When combined with other relaxation and anxiety-reducing techniques such as mindful yoga, deep breathing, and journaling, lemon balm can effectively manage stress and anxiety during pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a special time in life, and it's essential to take measures to ensure your and your baby's safety. While lemon balm may have some potential benefits, it's important to discuss its use with your healthcare provider prior to taking it. However, if taken in moderation and under the guidance of your doctor, it can be a great way to help manage stress and anxiety during pregnancy.
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